Teaching and Learning from Home with Wacom – MacHollywood | Your Premier Tech Partner

Teaching and Learning from Home with Wacom

Posted by Stefan Petit on

If you're a student or teacher that currently had their academic career altered due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, you might be scrambling together to find easy solutions for e-learning and remote teaching. As we all adjust to home-based work and school, we are challenged to find new and easy ways of continuing with our daily life. Students still need to learn and tea

The virtual classroom has been done before and is quite common, but for teachers who need to make that unfamiliar shift, they might not be aware of their options to implement readily available software into their curriculum.chers are forced to change how they run the classroom.

Wacom has worked with many freelancers, studios, and school systems in the past, and knows a thing or two about e-learning and the needs of an artist. So here are some tips and resources for remote education, and having the right tools on hand to make the best out of a bad situation.


Voice and Video Group Chat

Programs that offer video chat is a must when it comes to teacher interaction. Just because we are social distancing, doesn't mean we can stay connected. Some of the more popular Video Chat softwares are Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and many more.
Zoom is high on the list because for $15/month you can have 100 participants join the host for free, and the teacher can screen share to all of them easily.

There are even alternate programs to use that can have more benefits than just video calls. Discord is a free program, mainly used by the video game community for voice chat. Each host has his own server, which can house multiple voice chat rooms and separate text chat rooms. Once the class has joined, the teacher can screen share directly to the entire room. Multiple chat rooms can be created and split up for specific classes, Q&As, and topics. These designated rooms are also a great space for students to interact and get help outside of class hours where they can even upload homework files.


Discord has a much more thorough introduction here, with an included classroom template to get you going.


Software and Whiteboards

As a teacher, once you start streaming to your students, you’ll want something to demonstrate the lessons with. For art classrooms, the obvious answer is that you’ll have Photoshop open 99% of the time, but most students don’t get PS subscriptions with class tuition. Autodesk Sketchbook is the perfect drawing tool for those who don’t need Photoshop’s plethora of photography editing tools. Although, a cheaper alternate to Photoshop is Affinity Photo.

For 3D students, you might have access to some well-known 3D programs for you classes, but now might be a good time to try out Blender, another completely free tool that comes head to head with many industry standard 3D programs.

If you teach something in the Maths or Sciences and mainly use PowerPoint for your lectures, having some sort of digital whiteboard will make your process much more familiar.

MS OneNote is perfect for lesson plans and building digital binders for students. PDF readers like Acrobat, including OneNote, can be used to annotate homework.



OpenBoard is a free and powerful digital whiteboard to quickly handwrite and demonstrate during lectures. It comes with many built in tools like rulers, drawing tools, calculators, and much more.


Aggie.io is a collaborative painting application. You can draw a picture with friends in real-time over the internet in your browser, with many Photoshop-esque features. Teachers could use this to have multiple students write their problems on the whiteboard, and give live critiques to their work. No accounts required, just start a new "canvas" then invite your class or creative team with a url link!  


Wacom Hardware

Needles to say, these tools would be difficult with just a pen and mouse, that’s where Wacom comes in. Typing will only get you so far, having a tool that lets you draw or handwrite your own lecture notes, equations, and diagrams is an absolute must.

Smaller Wacom tablets, like the Intuos or Intuos Pro, are lightweight drawing pads that can fit right on your desk and have the power to accomplish most of what you need. Pen displays, like the Cintiq, let you draw directly on screen with any of the teaching programs mentioned above (you’ll never need real paper again!).

Hooked up to your computer, an Intuos tablet will act like a trackpad with a pen. And a Cintiq will function as a second screen you can write on while you share it to your students, leaving your main monitor for lecture notes or reference.

Cintiqs come in many sizes in a variety of price ranges. They go from a 13 inches all the way up to a 32 inch display. If you are new to Wacom drawing tablets, and just need to annotate documents and draw graphs, then a smaller Cintiq will suit you just fine, like the 13 inch Wacom One or the Cintiq 16”. Most artists would most likely go for the Cintiq Pro 24.

Checkout this full list of Wacom tablets and Cintiqs on our site, machollywood.com.

Intuos, An entry level tablet in small and medium size.
Intuos Pro, Professional tablet with more sensitivity, features, and sizes.

Wacom One, 13 inch entry level Cintiq with basic features.
Cintiq 16, A 16 inch display with standard features.
Cintiq Pro 13, Similar to the Wacom one but a better display and touch features.
Cintiq Pro 16, A 16 inch version of the Pro 13, but is 4K.
Cintiq 22, Same features as the Cintiq 16, but larger.
Cintiq Pro 24, Is 4K and comes in Touch and Non-Touch version.
Cintiq Pro 32, Is 4K and only comes in a Touch version.

If you're teaching art, or are an art student, Wacom might be already well known to you. For teachers in other subjects that rely heavily on graphs, formulas, or visualizations like math and sciences, a pen tablet or display can be a very helpful addition to the set up. These handwritten sketches or annotations help to explain and direct focus.

A basic Mac or PC will get you by for most streaming and lecture notes, but if you’ve ever used art software, you know they can have high system requirements. If you choose to upgrade your system, I’d recommend at least 16GB of RAM. If you have a machine that's more than 7 years old, you might have a hard time screen sharing, video chatting, and using an art program. Not to mention your OS could be too old for some of the mention programs and Wacom drivers to work.

Having a Cintiq as a second monitor does wonders for your productivity levels. Being able to have your 'working screen' and a 'reference screen' makes you much more effective at getting work done faster. Even if you just get a tablet, another monitor for a dual display set up is very beneficial.
Also remember to clean and disinfect your screens and keyboards. We have some guidelines for doing that here.



Some students might not have the funds to attend school right now, or maybe you’ve got some extra time on your hands these days and want to pick up an extra skill. Most of these resources are for artists but sites like Skillshare have thousands of courses that range across many subjects. These links range from schools with online courses, art podcasts to pass the time, and YouTube channels with very in-depth tutorials.

Brick & mortar Entertainment Design school that has online courses and mentorships available.
Plus a large selection of online workshops.

Brick & mortar Entertainment Design school that has online courses and mentorships available.

Online art school teaching traditional and digital skills.

Learn Squared
Online art school teaching entertainment design skills.

Online art school teaching entertainment design skills.

New Masters Academy
Online art school teaching many fundamentals.

Pencil King
Online art courses, as well as a podcast.

Creator storefront for tutorials and resources.

Artstation Marketplace
Creator storefront for tutorials and resources.

YouTube drawing tutorials on human anatomy fundamentals. 
Plus, Proko's Draftsmen Podcast and his Online Store for courses, demos, and reference material.

The Futur
YouTube education for creative entrepreneurs.

Blender Guru
A great source of YouTube tutorials for the 3D program Blender.

Lightbox Expo YouTube 
Some of the lectures from the Lightbox Expo convention.

The 'Trojan Horse was a Unicorn' Convention's recorded lectures.

Creative Trek Podcast

The Collective Podcast

Hundreds of artists stream their process and talk to their viewers about the industry and give tips.

YouTube Learning 
YouTube's collection of resources for different age groups covering many topics.

Google's Hub
A temporary hub of information and tools to help teachers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.




If you have any other questions regarding Wacom hardware and how you can get the most out of working from home, message us through email or on Facebook!

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